late 14c., from dash (v.). Sporting sense is from 1881, originally "race run in one heat."
c. 1300, probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Swedish daska, Danish daske "to beat, strike"), somehow imitative. The oldest sense is that in dash to pieces and dashed hopes. Intransitive meaning "move quickly" appeared c. 1300, that of "to write hurriedly" is 1726. Related: Dashed; dashing.
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